A new month, a new challenge

July is near. That means another set of bills, the latest edition of Cooking Illustrated, and the next online class starts up. But this month is going to be different, unlike any other month before. Why? Because I’m starting a 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge. You might be thinking, Shelley, don’t you already do such a thing? The answer is…sorta. As much as I preach about eating green 24/7, I don’t always stick to it. At no point do I allow my clean-eating practices slip, but I could use a little extra push. That’s why I signed up for SimpleGreenSmoothies.com‘s challenge and every morning for the next 30 days, I’ll consume a green smoothie.

What makes a green smoothie, you ask? Did you think I wasn’t going to tell you and I would just leaving you hanging like a hammok in the winter? Nah, I’m not that mean. The trick with green smoothies is in the base and every green smoothie needs to start with one. Without this base, you’re left with either a mouthful of lawn or a sugar rush that will only get you through your first 15 minutes of work’s morning meetings (and to think there could be hours left to go!). The bases consists of (any) leafy green and a frozen banana. I typically go for the kale because of it’s amazing nutritional value. I talked about all the great aspects of kale in a previous post where I claim my love for it’s greeny goodness.

With this simple base, you can make wondrous green smoothies that are healthy and tasty (imagine that!). Why this base is so important is because the frozen banana (which doesn’t de-crystalize into it’s original form after being thawed, providing an ice cream-like texture) masks the flavors of the raw leafy greens. Then the flavors all happen in the add-ons. You can mix in your favorite fruits, spices, supplements or anything else you want to throw in there to make a complete smoothie.

One of my all-time favorite smoothies is a blueberry oatmeal cookie (yes, I said cookie). I promise you, one sip of this bad boy and you’ll never look back!

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Ingredients:

Handful of kale (or any leafy green)

1 frozen banana

Handful of frozen or fresh blueberries

1/2 cup oatmeal (I always go for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free when it comes to oats)

1 tablespoon of cinnamon (I know it’s a lot, but the health benefits of cinnamon, including speeding up metabolism, are so worth it)

Pinch of salt

1-3 drops of liquid stevia extract

Combine all ingredients (except the stevia) in your blender and blend for a solid two minutes. You want to make sure everything is broken down as much as possible. This helps breakdown the raw leafy greens making it easier for digestion/absorption and helps prevent any crummy tummy action. After the first round of blending, add stevia to sweeten the mixture to taste. Drink smoothie immediately as the oats tend to make it really thick. Sip and enjoy that guilt-free oatmeal cookie. I like to top my smoothies off with a sprinkle of bee pollen (as seen in the picture) for that extra health kick. Toss in a few raw cacao nibs for a super-charged chocolate twist or blend that sucker up with a handful of raisins, you know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

When it comes to this challenge, I’m sure it will be easier on a few days compared to others. But I believe committing to the entire 30 days of green smoothie mornings followed by clean eating will keep me charged up and ready to go all the way to August!